If you had the chance to direct some money toward a handful of Open Source projects, which would you choose and why?

If your company had the chance to direct some money toward a handful of Open Source projects, which would you suggest it choose and why?

Are the lists different? Why?

Posted by jzawodn at October 14, 2003 08:12 PM

Reader Comments
# Mike Mckay said:

OpenYahoo (i.e. free site submissions, like in the good old days way back).

on October 14, 2003 08:26 PM
# B. Johannessen said:

If a company decides to sponsor an Open Source project, it should choose
one whos products or whos existence reduces the costs or increases the
profitability of the company.

An individual may choose to sponsor an Open Source project for any
number of reasons.

Example: A web designer may choose to support Mozilla because it
gives him a standards compliant, (reasonably) secure alternative to
MSIE. His employer should probably not sponsor Mozilla, as it adds
cost to his operation (having to test for more browsers).

on October 14, 2003 08:35 PM
# Joseph Scott said:

For me personally the two lists would over lap almost completely. For the most part my day job allows me to use what ever gets things done. That said, here are some projects I'd like to sponser and hope to get my work place to do the same:

PostgreSQL - I know this might not be the popular option around these parts, but for most of projects I work on it's almost always a better option than MySQL. I believe that in the future I'll be able to have my work place contribute to the project since we are using it to replace an old Oracle 7 database. Porting from Oracle 7 to PostgreSQL isn't too bad (except were Oracle decides to do their own thing instead of follow standard SQL). Doing the same thing from Oracle 7 to MySQL would require a complete rethinking of how even the most basic functions of our internal apps function. Having said that, I do have another client where I believe MySQL was the best choice, so I'm using it there. But I just can't give up stored procedures, sub-selects, views, foreign keys that are usable (mysqldump doesn't grok foreign keys too well) and the like if I can possibly help it.

FreeBSD - Again, maybe not the most popular option around here, but I've been using it since 1996 and have been very, very happy with it. I have it on everything from a Dell PowerEdge 4400 Dual Proc server to my Sony Z505LS laptop and everything in between. I will admit that lately I've been seriously considering a 15" Mac Powerbook for my next laptop though.

Apache - What do I really need to say here? I use, work uses it, it rocks!

There are other things that I'd like to support, but may be less likely to actually happen;PHP,Samba,Mozilla and OpenOffice. That last one might be possible one day, if I can get enough steam behind it at work.a

on October 14, 2003 09:17 PM
# Sebastian Bergmann said:

SRM. Because PHP needs it.

on October 14, 2003 09:52 PM
# Juha Haataja said:

Here are my choices: Linux kernel development, Mozilla, XFree86, Apache, and OpenSSH. On the other hand, all these are doing rather well already.

How about, for example, the SourceForge projects for posting Xmeeting and MPlayer to Mac OS X, or the Fink and DarwinPorts projects?

A company might not be interested in the MPlayer port, depending of course on the business it is involved in. The other projects are good investment choices for almost any enterprise, even for Microsoft.

on October 14, 2003 10:08 PM
# Ubaldo Huerta said:

How about smarty (php template engine) ? http://smarty.php.net

Not that it isn't doing great already as it is. If widely adopted, it will definitively change the face of many popular php packages such as phpbb, etc that currently have to reinvent the wheel for skinning, template customization, etc. Smarty has it all; it simply doesn’t have the big following (yet).

on October 15, 2003 12:40 AM
# Michael Moncur said:

Number one on my list would be SpamAssassin. Considering that it manages to filter all but one or two of the 200+ spam messages I get each day, and considering that I run my entire business on email communication, it's a lifesaver.

I suppose I get more use out of Apache, but Apache already has lots of support. (And SpamAssassin is joining the ASF anyway.)

on October 15, 2003 12:56 AM
# milk said:


on October 15, 2003 12:58 AM
# Nurullah Akkaya said:

Emacs->Definitly my first choice is my favorite editor & mail agent emacs. i can do anything without even leaving the window it saves me huge amount of time.

Slackware -> Simplicity stability.. works on all my machines without any major problems..

and also gcc gtkpod gaim mozilla.....

on October 15, 2003 01:09 AM
# Chandrashekhar Bhosle said:


The author is now accepting donations here to help him support his projects.

I've used qmail since 5+ years. It's whole lot easier to maintain and extend then the "a bug a week" sendmail.

Maybe a third of the internet and runs on it and many successful businesses are making money off it. Seems only fair he should be paid for his contribution.

on October 15, 2003 01:17 AM
# David Glynn said:

The FreeBSD ports system.

It's || that close, but still has a way to go.

The FreeBSD system upgrade.

Non-intuitive, and too much hands-on activity required. Let soeone interested in getting their hands on it have their way, but give new users a method to get it done reliably and easily.

Any server monitoring project. There are about 8 paradigms, and several decent attempts, but things like monitoring MySQL replication are not exactly native to any of them. Needs work.

on October 15, 2003 02:16 AM
# Seyed Razavi said:

If I (or a company I ran) had the money personally I would set up a not-for-profit fund and give small bursaries to deserving projects using a small panel of engineers (preferably voluntary) to decide. A few million makes for a lot of $10-50K grants even after paper costs.

The really big projects already have funding and those that add commercial value to enterprises even more so.

What's perhaps more needed is incentives for new public domain software that is viable for end-users.

(I wonder if Jeremy is scouting out for his employer???)

on October 15, 2003 04:14 AM
# steven hatch said:

My current vote goes with SQL-Ledger, which is an Open Source Accounting System.

I've been integrating it with an enterprise instance of PeopleSoft for a few months with amazing results -- especially with regard to user acceptance testing.

Who needs QuickBooks, Peachtree, MSN Money or even larger accounting systems like Solomon, Great Plains or even PeopleSoft to some extent when you have such robust OSS alternatives?

on October 15, 2003 06:33 AM
# Arcterex said:

Great question Jeremey.

My previous company (a firewall manufacturer) was seriously considering hiring the guys who did the IPSEC stuff for linux. It made sense, we needed it, the community needed it, it was a good fit.

Personally I'd probably go for a project that wasn't all that well funded now. OO.o, apache, mozilla, etc are all great projects but seem to be doing just fine as far as surviving. I might want to see if I could help a smaller setup like say, mrproject (linux gnome based project management) or epiphany or galeon or mutt or someone like that and help them out. Sadly I'm not in a position to do so right now, other than with moral support, bug reports and use of their software :)

on October 15, 2003 07:48 AM
# Jeremy C. Wright said:

Well, not being an OSS guy, I would support things (as would our company) which matter to us and help us out.

As such, Mono would be very high on our list as wuold DotNetNuke as they are both projects which increase our profitability.

In the past we've offered to fully sponsor OSS projects but there have never been any takers. It's funny that most OSS projects start as one person's dream and few OSS folk seem to want to be paid for them.

They prefer to do it (it seems, imo) and then get sponsorship than to be 'paid' to do it.

Ah well, it's one of those open offers.

on October 15, 2003 08:07 AM
# J$ said:


on October 15, 2003 08:34 AM
# Adam Turoff said:

Of course the lists are going to be different.

There may be some overlap, with things like development tools and productivity tools (Open Office, KOffice, KDE, Gnome, et. al.), and maybe a slight overlap on basic features (Linux, FreeBSD, etc.). But companies are also going to want big "enterprise apps" more than they want to pay for tweakage to Kivio or AbiWord.

r0ml gave a talk at OSCon about the 10 open source projects that are missing and necessary. Things like CRM, Asset tracking, Inventory management, and so on. These are crucial pieces of software that no individual wants or needs, but business needs.

Furthermore, companies need bigger, more scalable solutions. As individuals, we may want to pay for SpamAssassin development, but a company with 10,000 employees doesn't want to install 10K spam filters -- they want to install it once on the central mailserver. The problems are related, but very different. Mailing lists I consider to be spam may be very important to you, so it's not a simple matter of scaling up the filters to be more efficient.

on October 15, 2003 09:00 AM
# Scott Johnson said:

My money would go with the tools I use most: FreeBSD, Apache, and Mozilla. I use mySQL a lot, too, but they're a bit more commercial than the others.

on October 15, 2003 09:57 AM
# pete said:

As an individual, I'd sponsor jEdit, and probably Mozilla, as well as any smaller open-source projects that interest me and that I get some use out of.

If the company I work for sponsored some projects, my suggestions would be Perl, MySQL, Samba, and anything else my employer could benefit from in some way. Of course that's just my opinion, I'm sure after talking to everyone, we might come up with other ideas? (Perhaps OpenOffice?)

Why are they different? Because I'm a little guy with little money and the company is a big company, with hopefully big money. My employer would probably not benefit much from sponsoring jEdit, other than making me very happy. ;)

on October 15, 2003 11:15 AM
# pete said:

Ah, forgot about Jabber. For a company to be using an IM service that relies on another company (AOL, Yahoo, Microsoft, etc.) and runs over a public network, well it just seems silly. So either the Jabber foundation itself, or some really good Jabber client(s).

on October 15, 2003 11:20 AM
# Sérgio Nunes said:

A great "uncited" e-publishing tool: Bricolage. I think it could use some money to boost up it's marketing :)

on October 15, 2003 01:27 PM
# Mike Hillyer said:

A good IDE for allowing a language like Python to do GUI apps easily. In other words, an equivalent of VB on xwindows. To me you need a VB like language and IDE if you want to get a lot of people programming for X.

on October 15, 2003 02:56 PM
# ken said:

how about supporting a good checking account only program that prints checks,or medical tracking programs, or an encyclopedia, or god only knows what else.if linux is ever going to get on the desktops in this world these are the kinds of programs we need.

on October 16, 2003 07:48 AM
# gabe said:

Vote #2 for SRM. It's such a great idea, it just needs developer time.

on October 16, 2003 08:54 AM
# Jason Lotito said:

I am going to agree with Sebastian here. http://www.vl-srm.net/index.php

SRM definetly needed, and would make things a lot easier for certain things.

on October 17, 2003 06:43 AM
# Stanley Forbes-Winterbottom said:

They shouted out for developers a few weeks back. Double-entry book-keeping isn't "sexy", but it's a business app - and OSS needs more business apps.

on October 17, 2003 09:01 AM
# Harry Fuecks said:

Unifying Perl, Python, PHP, Ruby and TCL (and perhaps Java for fun) on the Parrot VM.

on October 17, 2003 11:02 AM
# Richy C. said:

Apache, then Perl, then PHP, then MySQL and then Linux (in order of importance). Why? Well, the first four are cross-platform and hence, if necessary, I can "do without" Linux: Perl and PHP before MySQL as they are the programming languages I use to make use of MySQL (and, before MySQL really "got on the scene", I was using other database style systems) and Apache first as it helps the communication and exchange of information and you don't really need Perl or PHP for that bit (as, if you need CGI style scripting, you can use shell scripts or .exes).

on October 19, 2003 02:47 PM
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